Let me guess: you know how important domain authority is, so you’re looking for ways to increase it.
Google has 200+ ranking factors and knowing your domain authority (DA) is crucial. What’s more, understanding how DA works can help you develop better strategies for improving your overall SEO performance.
While Moz admits that Google doesn’t use DA when ranking your web page, there’s still a need to know how it works.
A study conducted by Ahrefs found that although DA isn’t a ranking factor, there’s a direct correlation between a site’s domain authority and the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Domain authority shouldn’t be overlooked, but how do you improve it and how does it work?
What Is Domain Authority?
Domain authority is a search engine ranking scale developed by Moz.
On a scale of 0-100, it predicts how likely a web page is to rank higher on search engines like Google. Your domain authority is determined using various factors, such as the total number of backlinks and linking root domains it has.
Domain Authority vs. Trust Flow vs. Citation Flow
As established previously, domain authority (DA) is a metric that ranks websites on a scale of between 0 and 100 to indicate how they’ll perform. The higher your DA, the higher chances you’ll rank well for high-competition keywords.
On the other hand, trust flow is the total number of links a website gets from a group of trusted websites. Like domain authority, trust flow is calculated on a scale of 0 and 100. If you need a higher trust flow, then you’ll need to focus on getting only high-quality sites to link to yours.
Finally, citation flow is a specific number that forecasts how a URL could be influential based on the number of backlinks (other websites linking out to it).
Simply put, trust flow predicts the trustworthiness of a website based on how many other trusted sites link to it. Citation flow is different because instead of measuring trust, it measures influence.
Is Domain Authority Important for SEO?
Yes, domain authority is important for SEO. While Google doesn’t use domain authority as one of its ranking factors, DA helps you understand your relative competition and whether or not you have a chance of competing with them.
For example, knowing that your website’s DA is 45 will help you know which keywords you should target. A site with a 45-score DA is less likely to outperform sites with 95, but can dominate those with 20-30.
Knowing your DA also saves the time and resources you’d have to spend trying to outcompete websites with higher authorities. Instead of haphazardly attempting to rank for high-competition keywords, you can instead strategize your process by aiming for those more in your range.
Then, once your DA increases, you can move on to the bigger guns.
Finally, knowing your domain authority can help you adjust your SEO efforts accordingly. You can better know when to change your strategy and when to continue with it—for example, knowing that your website’s DA is 45 means you’ll want to target backlinks from higher authority websites with level 50 and above.
In summary, your domain authority is still significant even though Google doesn’t use it as its ranking factor. Even if you aren’t actively trying to raise it, keeping track of your DA is still worthwhile.
How Long Does It Take to Increase Domain Authority?
Increasing your DA will take some time, as several factors are taken into consideration when calculating it.
Moz says they update websites’ domain authority in real-time, though it may take up to 3-4 weeks to see the update.
In addition to that, Moz states that it takes up to 10 weeks to see one rank jump. However, you could see faster results by getting many high-quality backlinks at once. And as you already know, Moz uses aggregate link equity to determine the DA of websites.
By doing all the “right things” encouraged by Moz—such as getting more high-authority links, minimizing fewer spammy links, and getting more traffic-driving ones to your website—you could increase your DA in a few months according to Ahrefs.
What Is a Good Domain Authority?
Generally, a DA between 40-50 is considered average, 50-60 are good, and 60+ is excellent. However, Moz doesn’t recommend just having a higher DA. Instead, you should aim to have a DA higher than your competitors.
For example, if you have a DA of 60 and most of your competitors have DAs of 90+, you might consider increasing your DA to match theirs.
In other words, there’s no such thing as a “good” or “bad” DA. Your goal should be entirely based on your market.
How to Increase Domain Authority: 5 Easy Steps
You now know what domain authority is, why it’s important, and how long it can take to increase it. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty.
Increasing your domain authority takes time, and as Moz has stated, it takes an average of 10 weeks to see one rank jump, meaning you should expect to see results in months. So no matter how many steps you decide to take, the most critical thing to remember is to be consistent.
Here’s how to increase domain authority in five easy steps.
1. Earn Backlinks from Websites with High Domain Authority
According to MonsterInsights, backlinks are the second most important ranking factor for Google after content.
However, backlinking is more than just a numbers game.
In fact, there are websites with fewer links that consistently outperform those with many. So why does this happen?
Four words: content quality and site structure.
No matter how many backlinks you earn, your content will consistently flop in terms of rankings if it’s poorly written, is low quality, and your site is difficult to navigate.
Thus, the best combination here is quality content + quality website + backlinks.
But how do you earn backlinks?
One effective (and highly used) method is guest posting.
Guest posting is the practice of writing content and publishing it on another site to obtain a backlink.
When guest posting, make sure the sites you’re contributing to have the DA you’re trying to achieve.
Earning backlinks from low authority websites won’t impact your DA much, which is why you should prioritize guest posting on sites with higher authority than yours. Otherwise, you might as well post it on your own blog.
To check the DA of a site before guest posting, run an analysis of it on your chosen SEO tool (such as Moz, Mangools, or SEMRush).
Another way to get high-quality backlinks is to exchange links, but you need to do it moderately and carefully. According to Ahrefs’s study, reciprocal links are against Google’s Webmaster guidelines. However, the same survey revealed that 19.25% of the websites they link to also link to them.
While this may mean reciprocal links are safe to some extent, it’s critical to note that the study only sampled 100,000 websites with 10,000+ search traffic per month. So there could be a possibility that low-traffic sites that have suffered from this penalty were left out.
2. Perform a Link Audit
A link audit is when you analyze the backlinks to your website and determine whether their validity. Not all links are equal and you need to ensure that the majority of your backlinks come from high-quality sites.
A good link audit should reveal any risky links you may have and guide you on improving your backlink profile. Plus, link audits can also help size your competitors and develop a better strategy to outperform them.
When conducting your link audit, consider connecting your backlink audits to Google Analytics. According to SEMRush, doing so can help you get a more accurate traffic analysis. It can also save you from removing valuable backlinks driving actual traffic to your site.
To stay on top of your links and maintain your DA score, adopt link auditing as a regular practice. In fact, Link Research Tools recommends doing a link audit as frequently as every one to two days.
Another thing to look out for when link auditing is broken links. Ensuring that you’ve matched broken links with redirects gives your site better UX and can boost its ranking performance.
3. Create High-Quality, Linkable Content
Eventually, you want to earn backlinks from other sites naturally instead of constantly guest posting.
In other words, your content should be so good that other sites naturally want to link to it.
So how can you build high-quality backlinks without guest posting on high-authority websites?
Many content frameworks have been proven to trigger high-quality backlinks. A good example is the skyscraper content framework.
After successfully implementing this method, Brain Dean acquired 300,000+ referral visitors, and most importantly, that page today has more than 29,000 backlinks. Furthermore, the post now ranks for a whooping 3,7000+ organic keywords.
Besides the skyscraper technique, roundup posts featuring top industry influencers have also generated tremendous results. Roundup posts are a collection of high-quality content in a specific niche. For example, a blog post with the title “10 Must-Know Social Media Influencers” is a round-up article.
Aside from generating backlinks, roundup posts can also help you build strong relationships with industry influencers.
However, use proper internet etiquette by reaching out to the influencers you want to feature before adding them to your content. Plus, knowing that they’ll be featured in an article means the influencers will likely be waiting to share it with their own audiences.
Last but not least: Infographics.
People will constantly want to use your infographic on their blog posts, which automatically fetches some high-quality links.
The Kissmetrics blog is an excellent example of a website generating tons of traffic from infographics. They currently have 47 infographics that generate 2,512,596 unique visitors and 41,142 backlinks.
4. Form a Link Building Strategy
In the past, link building was quantity over quality. You could write many articles, submit them to a guest posting site, and boom, you had backlinks.
But in this post-Penguin era, this strategy is meant for the history books. Google now gives zero chances to low-quality thin content on the web.
In other words, link building today is a gradual process and you can’t do it overnight. The quality of websites or pages you’re building links from will ultimately determine your search engine results, not how many you have.
To achieve this, you need to create a link-building strategy. Or, a roadmap that will get you from your current DA to the one you desire.
So far, you have three items to add to your strategy and checklist:
- Guest posting
- High-quality content creation
- Link auditing
For now, let’s focus on the content creation aspect.
According to Neil Patel, you can generate up to 434% more indexed pages on your website by consistently blogging.
5. Optimize Your Content for SEO and Target Low-Competition Keywords
While link building is almost the most important aspect when trying to increase your domain authority, you should also optimize your content with low-competition keywords.
With a lower DA, you’ll have an easier time ranking for keywords with lower competition (even if it means sacrificing high search volume). Various tools like Ahrefs and Moz can help you find those hidden gems.
Each tool uses a metric that measures how difficult it’ll be to rank for a keyword. For example, Ahrefs uses the term ‘keyword difficulty.’
Besides, the more keywords you rank for, the more discoverable your content is, the more people will link to it. Thus, the more domain authority you’ll get over time.
There are a couple of low-competition untapped keywords out there. Interestingly, not even your competitors know about these untapped keywords. And the best of all is that there are numerous ways you can research them.
One of the most common ways is hanging out on community or discussion platforms like Reddit and Quora.
Filter the results to match your industry and you’ll find loads of topics. While most of these keywords have a low average monthly search traffic, there’s a possibility that the search volume will grow over time.
Finally, don’t overlook SEO best practices, such as aligning your content with user intent, writing optimized title tags and meta descriptions, including alt tags, ensuring your page loads quickly, and more.
Wrapping It All Up
With these five steps, knowing how to increase domain authority is clearer than ever. But actually doing so can be challenging when you don’t have the right strategy in place.
And while Google has always tried to distance itself from using domain authority as a ranking factor, there’s proven evidence that it influences your chances of ranking higher.
With the above strategies, you can increase your DA and start seeing results in the next few weeks.
The ball is now in your court—start implementing these strategies and be patient with them. Remember that increasing your domain authority is a gradual process. As long as you’re consistent, the work will pay off.